Economic Development

TJX to Seek 75% Abatement, Offer $500K to Schools

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – TJX Companies Inc. will seek a 10-year, 75% property tax abatement for its proposed $160 million distribution center, village and school district officials disclosed at meetings Monday. The company also said it would provide a total of $500,000 to the school district for security upgrades and athletic improvements.

Bradford Dunn, TJX vice president and property tax director, met Monday with the Lordstown Board of Education and the school district’s superintendent and treasurer to outline the company’s tax abatement request and gift.

Dunn also attended last night’s Village Council meeting to brief council members and Mayor Arno Hill on the company’s proposal. He declined to comment publicly and referred questions to TJX’s communications department, which also declined to address the abatement request, gift or the state tax credit announced yesterday.

TJX is looking to build a 1.2-million-square-foot warehouse in the village to serve its HomeGoods chain. Earlier in the day, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a Job Creation Tax Credit potentially worth more than $3.5 million to the company.

TJX has offered to give the district $350,000 for an athletic building at the district track complex and $150,000 for security improvements at school buildings, said Bill Catlin, president of the Lordstown school board.

In addition, TJX will provide assurances regarding conservancy areas, barriers and related issues at the proposed distribution site, Hill said. The school district also will receive a share of the income tax generated by the distribution center.

The proposed building at the track complex would include a concessions stand, restrooms and storage space for track equipment that now has to be stored at the district elementary school building, Catlin said.

“That would allow us to host invitational track meets and possibly state district track meets,” he added. He was unsure whether the $350,000 would cover the entire cost of the project.

The other $150,000 would go toward security enhancements including vestibules, metal detectors and equipment to scan driver’s licenses of visitors at schools, he said.

The abatement does not require school district approval because it does not completely abate taxes generated by improvements to the site. The Trumbull County Board of Commissioners must approve the abatement and Hill said he expects the abatement request to go to the Trumbull County Planning Commission, which administers the county enterprise zone program, in the next week or two.

If the abatement is approved, the district would realize about $400,000 annually from improvements to the property. Both Catlin and district Superintendent Terry Armstrong voiced their approval for TJX’s proposal.

“It’s a good offer,” Catlin said.

The land is currently generating $7,600 in property taxes annually, he said. The funds the district would receive if the project moves forward would allow the district to address needs without having to seek a levy.

“This was great news. We’re excited about it,” Armstrong affirmed. The additional taxes generated by the project, even if the abatement is approved, will help the district address student curriculum needs and other priorities, he said.

Sarah Boyarko, senior vice president for economic development for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, accompanied Dunn yesterday on his visit to Lordstown. That Dunn “took the time to be fully transparent and inform the school board what their intent is as they progress forward and the monetary gift was well received,” she said.

Boyarko said company officials were pleased to learn of approval of the job creation tax credit yesterday, while the chamber enjoyed seeing state support for the effort to secure the project for the Mahoning Valley.

Based on the projected payroll of $27 million once the warehouse is operating at full capacity, the village income tax would generate about $270,000 annually, Hill said. The village is required to enter into an income-sharing agreement with the school district for any projects with payrolls in excess of $1 million.

TJX is seeking a zone change from residential to industrial on seven parcels where the company wants to build the distribution center, which has generated opposition from some nearby homeowners.

Robert Bond, a village councilman who opposes the rezoning, declined to speak to a Business Journal reporter requesting comment following the meeting.

A public hearing on the rezoning request is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 16.

Pictured: George Catlin, president of the Lordstown Board of Education, discusses TJX’s $500,000 proposed gift at a village council meeting Monday.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.